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Testosterone Replacement Therapy in the Bariatric Patient

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With the proliferation of health clinics around the United States and a multitude of online pharmacies, there has been a renewed fever-pitch discussion on testosterone and its effect on bodily function. Believe it or not, testosterone is necessary in both men and women, and both genders tend to lose some of this hormone as they age. As such, both men and women need to be aware of their testosterone levels, despite women only needing about 1/10 of the amount of testosterone required by men.

Let’s discuss a little bit more about the consequences of low testosterone.

Before we get into low testosterone, it’s essential to understand that many factors affect testosterone levels, and the symptoms that we discuss below are not necessarily only related to Low T as it is colloquially called. Unfortunately, the discussion has become so ubiquitous that some people mistakenly believe that the cause of all their ailments is hormonal. So, before embarking on a journey to replenish your testosterone, be sure you go to a qualified medical professional who can give you more information and proper testing as it relates to hormone replacement therapy, in particular testosterone.

For those who have clinically low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, it’s essential to understand precisely what that means. With that, it’s important to know that the proper levels of testosterone have never been accurately defined; often, studies use younger patients in their 20s or 30s to measure baseline testosterone; they use these studies to suggest testosterone replacement for the older patient without considering that there will be a natural and normal decline as we age.

To accurately diagnose clinically low testosterone, we must consider several factors. First, are lifestyle issues impeding testosterone production? Obesity, lack of sleep, poor diets, and low exercise levels can all suppress testosterone production in the body. Bariatric patients, therefore, should only consider testosterone therapy once they have reached their goal weight and have solidified their lifestyle by eating according to their bariatric diet and exercising.

From there, proper testing is critical to knowing your testosterone levels.

If low testosterone is appropriately diagnosed and treated, patients are often better able to lose weight, have more energy in their daily lives, and exercise. They can usually build muscle more quickly, and their general mood can improve.

On the other hand, going to less-than-scrupulous men’s clinics to get testosterone replacement therapy can lead to some problematic issues if too much testosterone is administered. Patients can experience irritability, increased blood viscosity that can cause several cardiovascular concerns, and more. Ultimately, improper administration of testosterone replacement can be problematic or even deadly.

The Bottom Line

Men and women who believe they may have hormonal imbalances should first closely follow their bariatric postoperative lifestyle changes. This will include their modified diet and improved exercise. Doing this can rebalance hormonal levels and often normalize the symptoms associated with low testosterone.

If two years after the bariatric procedure, you’re still experiencing some hormonal concerns, it’s essential to visit a qualified urologist or endocrinologist to understand how levels may be balanced and what can be done to alleviate the situation. Of course, we are always here to discuss hormonal imbalances or questions about testosterone, and we are happy to refer you to an appropriate specialist when the time comes. In the meantime, be sure to pay special attention to your postoperative lifestyle before considering additional elective therapies.